Assistantship Description: A PhD assistantship position is available with Drs. Carsten Külheim and Matthew Kelly at Michigan Technological University’s College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science (CFRES). The student will work with a diverse team (including Dr. Chelsea Schelly, Social Science, MTU) on an interdisciplinary project focused on tree improvement techniques and their acceptability among various stakeholder groups. Specifically, the incoming student will conduct a meta-analysis of tree breeding and biotechnology studies that a) identify and introduce resistance in trees to pests and pathogens, b) evaluate tree improvement methods including traditional breeding, marker-assisted breeding, genomic selection and genetic modification, and, c) assess risks associated with improvement methods. The results of the meta-analysis will be used to inform surveys targeting the general public as well as private forest owners to assess the acceptability of using improvement techniques to address various societal and forest management interests. The student will be expected to present at landowner workshops and scientific conferences. As a member of CFRES, the student will join a dynamic community of scientists, teachers, scholars, graduate and undergraduate students.

Qualifications: Candidates must have prior research experience, working well both independently and as part of a team, and have skills and interest in plant genetics or plant-pathogen/pest interactions and an interest in science communication and interdisciplinary research. Desired qualifications also include an excellent academic record; strong writing, presentation, and computing skills, and knowledge of bioinformatic methods. Candidates with an MS in genetics, plant pathology, or a related discipline are preferred and only substantial research and prior publication experience will be considered in lieu of a Master’s degree.

Funding: The assistantship includes funding for tuition and stipend of $25,000/year (including summers) for three years.

Application Process and Deadline: Review of applicants will begin March 20th and end when a desired candidate is chosen. Interested candidates should contact both Dr. Carsten Külheim and Dr. Matthew Kelly by email ([email protected] and [email protected]) and include a statement of research interests, an updated CV, and contact information for three references. Suitable candidates will be contacted for an interview and will be encouraged to submit a formal application to the graduate school at Michigan Technological University (details on Michigan Tech, the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Sciences, and the application procedure can be found at: https://www.mtu.edu/gradschool/prospective/apply-now/)